By Roger Chambers
In these unprecedented times, most, if not all, of the major festivals and fairs that make summer a season of large outdoor gatherings for parades, arts and music festivals and sporting events have been canceled due to the Corona virus pandemic. Major holidays may be celebrated this year, though in ways different than in most years with large gatherings likely very limited in scope.
Holidays and Observances for July
July 1 Canada Day
July 4 Independence Day, usually called the “Fourth of July”
July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Birthday, Tennessee
July 24 Pioneer Day, Utah
July 25 Constitution Day, Puerto Rico; National Day of the Cowboy
July 27 José Celso Barbosa’s Birthday, Puerto Rico; National Day of the Cowboy
As most traditional events are not happening, the usual calendar of events is not included this month. These include, but are not limited to, the following usual large celebrations of the summer season: the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute Sidewalk Arts Festival, the Utica Boilermaker, large regional Fourth of July parades and events, Honor America Days in Rome, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and the Boonville Fair. The Enchanted Forest and Water Safari in Old Forge is opening as of this writing on June 27.
Many other localities and events, such as state parks and various picnics and cookouts will likely be scaled back in size with some type of “social distancing” guidelines in place. These will likely include keeping groups separated by six feet or more and the encouraged, if not mandated, use of masks for any potentially close interactions.
Be that as it may, the seasonal differences continue, with home gardens and regional agricultural businesses tied to these variations in the climate. Some farmers markets (in Utica and Clinton) are open (with restrictions), while others have chosen not to operate this year. For those markets, and for home gardeners, the strawberries will be nearly gone by early July, while raspberries, blackberries and blueberries coming into season in mid summer. And not too long after that, peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, beans and corn will be in season.
For those who usually take summer vacations at resorts out of the area, or visiting relatives out of state, many plans will simply be canceled, and finding ways to relax at parks or other regional attractions may be limited as well. This may prove to be a bit exhausting, as it appears we may have a hot summer, by late June already having four days over 90°F, with a long time average of five such hot days for the full season. All we can do is find little things to do with family or close friends, but limit close social contact as much as possible and carry on.
In the difficult times ahead, we will have to adjust the best we can, adapting to the use of masks and limiting social interaction on a large sale as part of the “new normal” at least for the next few months. Support local businesses as much as possible, and hopefully pull together as an indication that this is a community. If you are fortunate enough to have a job, do your best to support local non profits and food banks to help those who are newly unemployed or under-employed. We will get through this as difficult as it might seem at the moment as a community that may be stronger and better off as this pandemic winds down.
In the Night Skies
Mercury and Venus are both visible in the predawn sky in the east, Mercury better towards the end of the month, but quite low on the horizon. The Moon joins these two planets on the 17th, and is to the left of Mercury on the 19th.
Jupiter is in opposition on 14th, while Saturn is in opposition on the 20th. This means that they rise about sunset and are visible most of the night, and they are both at their brightest for the year. The Moon is below these two giant planets on the 6th, forming a triangle.
Rising and SettingTimes of the Sun, Moon, and Visible Planets on Tuesday July 21, 2020
Sunrise 5:41 A.M.
Sunset 8:32 P.M.
Moonrise 6:23 A.M., NE,
Moonset 9:39 P.M., NW
Mercury rises 4:16 A.M., NE
Venus rises 2:48 A.M., NE
Mars rises 11:44 P.M., East
Jupiter rises 7:58 P.M., SE Jupiter sets 5:10 A.M., SW
Saturn rises 8:22 P.M., SE Saturn sets 5:46 A.M., SW
Full Buck Moon July 5
Last Quarter July 12
New Moon July 20
First Quarter July 27